Casper Ruud vs Benoit Paire: Hamburg Open Preview and Prediction
The fast-improving Casper Ruud takes on Benoit Paire at the Hamburg Open.
After making his maiden ATP Masters semifinal at the Rome Masters before losing to the eventual champion, Novak Djokovic, Ruud is in the middle of a dream run.
Having recovered successfully from the coronavirus that forced him to pull out of the US Open at the last minute, Paire lost in the first round at Rome in straight sets to Jannik Sinner.
The Frenchman was frustrated and got a warning for verbal abuse and also threw a bottle on the court. He also got valuable match practice partnering his compatriot, Nicolas Mahut to reach the pre-quarterfinals of the doubles.
Head to Head record
Ruud leads the head to head record 1-0 against Paire. He defeated Paire in qualifying at last year's Madrid Open.
By training extensively in Rafael Nadal's academy, Ruud has shown positive results on clay clinching the title in Buenos Aires, a runner-up finish in Santiago followed by a semifinal appearance in Rome.
Defeating experienced players such as Karen Khachanov, Marin Cilic and Matteo Berrettini would have added a lot of confidence to the Norwegian.
On the other hand, Paire is a delight to watch on clay when he gets going and maintains discipline. Ruud is blessed with a strong forehand. He is quite quick on his feet and is a masterful retriever. His backhand lacks power though and Paire would look to exploit that.
The Frenchman has a reliable backhand and would look to mix the pace of play by using a variety of drop shots and slices and charging to the net often.
Ruud's topspin heavy game would keep him in good stead. Paire should keep his emotions in check and concentrate only on his game by giving a good fight. The Frenchman would look to take some inspiration from his quarterfinal finish in 2015 at Hamburg.
While Ruud is in the form of his life, Paire has not got into a proper rhythm since the resumption of the tour. The Norwegian must watch out for fatigue concerns having played five matches last week.
Prediction - Casper Ruud to win in three sets
Featured image credits: firstsportz.com